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Thirumangai Azhvaar

From: Parthasarati Dileepan (
Date: Wed Dec 10 1997 - 13:08:14 PST

Self-abasement by Thirumangai Azhvaar can be found
sprinkled all over his 1000 and odd verses.  But it is in
the first and the sixth Thirumozhi of the first decad where
we find this sentiment most intensely expressed.  In these
verses the first two lines detail the nature of his
transgressions and the rest describes how he was able to
transcend his sins by somehow taking refuge at the lotus
feet of Sriman Narayana.

The first Thirumozhi comes immediately after the
Azhvaar had upadesam from the divine couple.  Having
understood the true nature of individual souls the
Azhvaar feels intensely penitent for all the sins he had
committed.  He is full of remorse for having wasted his
time in the pursuit of worthless worldly pleasures.  He
sings, "oomanaar kaNda kanavilum pazhudhaay
ozhindhana kazhindha annaaLkaL".   Here the aazhvaar
compares his past days to the fantasies of a dumb.  Like
the dreams of a dumb is of no value to anyone, my past
days have been worthless.  The Azhvaar ends each of
these verses passionately declaring the efficacy of
Thiruvashtaaksharam for absolving his sins.

In the sixth Thirumozhi of the first decad the Azhvaar
repeats the same theme as in the first. Why should he
revisit this topic in the sixth Thirumozhi?  Sri Utthamoor
Swami answers this question in his commentary.  The
subject of the sixth Thirumozhi is NaimisaaraNyam. 
Among all the kshEthraas the Rishis of yore considered
NaimisaaraNyam to be the foremost for destroying one's
sins.  This is the reason the Azhvaar recounts all the sins
he had already sang about in the first Thirumozhi. 
Among the most intense of these intense 10 verses is:

idumbaiyaal adarppuNdu iduminO thuRRu ennRu irandhavarku illaiyEyenRu,
neduncolaal maRuttha neesanEn andhO! ninaikkilEn vinaippayan thannai,
kaduncolaar kadiyaar kaalanaar thamaraal paduvadhOr kodumiRaiku anchi,
nadungi naan vandhu un thiruvadi yadaindhEn naimisaaraNiyatthuLendhaay!

        --  Periya Thirumozhi 1.6.5

(thuRRu = a mouthful, kodumiRai = horrible torture,
naman thamar = Yama thoodhaas)

"I turned away the ones who begged for just a mouthful to pacify
their hunger brought on by poverty.  Not caring for the sin that will
befall me, I firmly and repeatedly refused their pleas. What a low-
life I am.  Now, being dreadful of Yama's servants waiting to put
me through brutal torture, I surrender unto your divine feet, O!
Lord of Naimisarayam."

What happens to those Yama thoodhaas after we surrender to the
Lord.  Thondardippodi Azhvaar says we can dance on top of their

kaavaliR pulanai vaiththuk kalithanaik kadakkap paayndhu,
naavalitt uzhitharukinROm  naman thamar thalaikaL meethE,
moovulagu uNdu umizhndha  mudhalva! nin naamam kaRRa,
aavalip pudaimai kaNdaay arankamaa nakaru LaanE!

         -- Thondaradippodi Azhvaar's Thirumaalai verse #1

"We let the mind and body wander into everything
without guard.  However, to cross the ocean of sins we
learnt the names of the Lord who swallowed the three
worlds and then spit them out.  (By repeating His names,
we are longer afraid of the Yama thoodhaas) we can 
perform our victory dance on top of the heads of 
Yama's servants."

-- adiyEn